News 12 at 11 o'clock/Wednesday May 28, 2014
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW)--It's been almost five years since the Augusta Canal Authority bought Sibley Mill and after learning the site has soil contamination, they've been trying to get help cleaning it up.
"We went ahead and started the clean up ourselves with the funds we had and we spent about $250,000 during the first phase," said Dayton Sherrouse, executive director of the Canal Authority.
"This is really important because it really positions the mill for redevelopment, whatever it may be."
Sherrouse has been there through it all as the city of Augusta dreams about what the property could be, from university classrooms to dorm space.
But voters decided against spending SPLOST money on it.
Now, help is on the way from the Environmental Protection Agency.
"We were finally successful in getting a grant from EPA for $200 thousand dollars," said Sherrouse. "It's an important milestone to get the site cleaned up."
One downside is delays. Sherrouse says they won't be able to start work until 2015 with the grant money they're receiving.
"Unfortunately it just takes a long time to go through all the process you've got to go through," he explained.
But through the stacks of paperwork, Sherrouse tells 12 the end goal--getting the mill back on the market--is worth it.
"Even with the delay in getting it underway it's a very positive and important step in what I think will be an ultimate redevelopment in something that's really important for the city," he said.
The Canal Authority got a similar grant from the EPA last year to start cleaning up contamination on the front half of the mill, which they're hoping to start sometime this summer.
But, again, the recent $200,00 grant to clean up the rest of the mill won't go into effect until 2015.
Because the mill is located in a pretty big area, they'll be having several public meetings before any work starts.
Click the attached link to head over to the Canal Authority's website and check public meeting updates.